By Nidhi Raj Singh
Her strength lies in creating believable, admirable heroines from pure fictional characters. Kavita Kane presents epics from a fresh perspective of the overlooked and the unheard. A former journalist, she has authored The Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen, Sita’s Sister, Menaka’s Choice, Lanka’s Princess and The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty.
Why is so appealing about Indian mythology?
Its immediate sense of identification and the universal truth buried within its layered identity is most appealing. And that is exactly why Hindu mythology has survived and succeeded thousands of years down, a living entity in today’s times. Mythology is a diverse, democratic genre providing a huge canvas to portray thoughts and issues, emotions and experiences still relevant today through its characters, plot and narrative. Its broad context helps us question the stereotypical human nature and the socio-political reality within a culture. And it gives the author a certain creative freedom to delve and ‘demythify’ thereby encouraging interpretations and re-visitations and retellings of the original texts.
Do you think too much liberty has been taking reinterpreting the epics?
There is a lot of creative liberty taken when it comes to mythology, which I have taken in all my books while focusing on minor characters, mostly overlooked. Some may consider this a downside as not sticking to the original. But the fact that both the epics have so many versions and retellings show the enormous wealth it contains to be reaped and told and even revised at times. The protagonist of my debut book Karna’s Wife is a fictitious character – a huge liberty I took as I had no wish to corrupt characters from the original story. But the readers loved her as a believable character, well knowing this. Uruvi, the wife is supposed to be Karna’s companion, friend, guide and most importantly, his conscience. She is the sutradhar telling her husband’s story, and the perspective changes from the conventional one. Likewise, in the latest The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty, the first half of the Mahabharata is seen through the eyes of Satyavati.
Do you think Indian mythology has a strong feminist narrative?
Certainly. In fact, most if not all were tough, tenacious women given the situation and times they were in. Be it a Devyani or Satyavati, Kunti or Uloopi (in the Mahabharata) or Tara or Mandodari, Sita or Urmila or even Kaikeyi and Surpanakha (in the Ramayana), each of them carry a strong, individual narrative.
Is Indian mythology being overdone? Will the intrigue factor die a slow death?
It’s a huge opus, full of stories to be told and retold, which have existed for thousands of years and shall certainly exist for a thousand more! They will always be popular, relevant and identifiable to each of us, and the present society. Mythology still holds strong and is strangely fascinating for its complex, deep, multi-dimensional distinctiveness.